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1995.04.DD - Much Music - Interview with Slash

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1995.04.DD - Much Music - Interview with Slash Empty 1995.04.DD - Much Music - Interview with Slash

Post by Blackstar on Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:47 am


Host: Slash likes playing music so much, that when Guns N’ Roses decided to take a hiatus, Slash put together a band called Slash’s Snakepit with GN’R’s drummer Matt Sorum, the bassist from Alice in Chains, Mike Inez, and the ex-Jellyfish guitarist, Eric Dover. Their first release is called “It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere,” which was named after a bartender’s response: when Slash ordered a drink early in the day and the bartender said, “Hey, it’s 5:00 somewhere.” Now, Slash, it’s true, made his mark in rock ‘n’ roll in the 80s and the 90s, but as KCC discovered, Slash plays guitar with the heart and the soul of the 60s.

[Live footage: Slash’s Snakepit in Toronto, Canada]

Interviewer: First of all, the tattoo, the deathbed one. I thought “till death do us part,” but no. What is it?

Slash: No, it’s “drink till you drop.” My grandmother hated this tattoo when I got it, and I was actually pretty stupid. I drew it on a napkin one day and then traced it on my own.

Interviewer: What about the references – and you, to some degree, are the epitome of it – that death had in rock ‘n’ roll? The skull, and here on the cover - why do you think rock ‘n’ roll...?

Slash: Because when you get really into it, if you really sell your soul to it, it becomes you. Then we all know all the tragedies and all of this, and the chances that we take to be able to strive for – you know, I don’t want to sound cliché or anything, but to strive for the art. And, sort of like, there’s that rebellion kind of thing in you, that makes you go against the grain and be what you would call a genuine rock ‘n’ roll artist, or however you want to put it.

Interviewer: So the further...

Slash: There’s something about the hard rock stuff, where we get into this really dark – you know. And it doesn’t mean anything real serious.

[Live footage: Slash’s Snakepit, Toronto]

Interviewer: But the further you get into that darker side, the more things may be either open to you or you see things in a slightly different light? Is that what it is, you think?

Slash: No. You’re analyzing it way too much. I mean, a rock ‘n’ roll band, tried and true, is just basically a fucking simple thing. Some people do take it a little bit too seriously, I think. I mean, I won’t mention any names, but there’s a lot of bands out there that really think that the pinnacle of life is this band that they’re in. It’s just a fucking band, you know. Yeah, it happens to be your personal pinnacle, but not everybody else’s. And they take everything too seriously and they get into overanalyzing life in general, and this and that; everything is so deep. And after a while it gets a little boring. The whole skull and crossbones bit, that’s just sort of a half-assed way of going, “Yeah, punk rocker!” you know? (laughs) I’m not a part of normal society. I just wanted you to know that.

[Clip from Beggars And Hangers On video]

Slash: As far as the public is concerned, if anything, you can give them a good song that they can listen to, and maybe make the day a little bit better, maybe make the fucking five o’clock drive home from work a little bit more exciting, by having a good kick out song. But I mean, all things considered, it’ like, you put it on and it’s there for the moment; it’s not always – it’s not like over the fucking president or something, you know? I mean, the Beatles, that was definitely a phenomenon and everything, but when it was all said and done, it was over. People loved the Beatles, but we still have to go back to life in general and deal with reality. So I think rock ‘n’ roll bands just provide that little bit of entertainment, sometimes with a little bit of attitude.

[Clip from Beggars And Hangers On video]

Interviewer: So how’s this been going for you out there?

Slash: It’s been great! It’s been awesome. We’ve been going out and – I don’t know, it’s just nice to be able to actually touch the audience and just reach out. I mean, I don’t wanna sound mushy about it, but it’s like, instead of “there’s the band and there’s the crowd,” it’s sort of like we’re all just in it together and we just go for it; and at the end of the night we all walk away sweaty, and then get on the bus and go to the next gig. It’s cool. Doing this is more or less just like going out, and maintaining where it was that I come from in the first place. When I started playing guitar and all that kind of stuff, and Guns N’ Roses started, it was all about just a rock ‘n’ roll band; and it was about being, sort of like, toe-to-toe with the audience, and just the experiences that you have when you’re all tour, and all that kind of it.

[Clip from Welcome to the Jungle video]

Slash: So it was great. It’s very gratifying to go out and play in front of 100,000 people. That’s great; but then, you don’t even know them. So when you go into a club, it’s nice to at least go back to where you first started, just so that you can reestablish the work ethic of going in there and really becoming one with the group of people you’re playing for.

[Clip from Good To Be Alive video]

Slash: If we’re not on the road, I spend my time at home working to get back on the road, you know? So, I have to say, I’m single-minded in that way. My wife thinks I’m crazy; but she knew what she married (laughs).

Interviewer: But it does keep you busy and at least - you know, the devil finds work for idle hands to do?

Slash: Right. You know it’s true and you know I have a bad reputation, so –

Interviewer: So it’s just a good way of sort of like –

Slash: This is – all I do is play now. That’s all I’ve ever set out to do. The only reason I ever got in trouble before was because we weren’t doing anything. But, at the same time, you have to understand that it’s a doggy-dog kind of a career that you’re in, and in order to be successful and maintain your own personal integrity, you have to, sort of like, watch everything. You can’t be fucked up all the time and just not paying attention, you know. You can ask any of the older dudes, like David Bowie, who I know, Keith Richards, Joe Perry, any of those guys. They’ve all been through it and it’s just that you have to watch what you’re doing.

[Clip from Sweet Child O’ Mine video]

Interviewer: Coming into (?) the epitome is that you’re an L.A. rock child, but that is not true, is it?

Slash: I’m pretty much – I moved to Los Angeles, because that was at the time where the 70s were starting to really happen for my parents in the music business and L.A. was the place to be; Sunset Boulevard and that was it. And I was about as far as from being what you’d call a Californian – you know, in on a fashion. I was really close to my family in England and I like touring, so I’m not really what you’d call, like, an L.A. guy. But I do live there and I understand Los Angeles is full of shit. Yeah, it’s cute, you know? (laughs)

[Clip from Good To Be Alive video]

Interviewer: How about the musical references, though, of Britain? It seems to be particularly true of this – you know, that there is a real sense of that great golden period of the Yardbirds...

Slash: Well, I was born in ’65, right? And some people don’t even realize that ’65 was a really important year.

Interviewer: And crucial.

Slash: Right. And my parents were in the middle of that, right? And my grandparents hate my dad, and my dad hates my grandparents, because he went off on this tangent and he went marrying a black woman; and, you know, instead of following the family way, he decided to become a graphic artist and hang out with all that whole free kind of lifestyle. And my mom is about as much of the flower girl as they get, a flower child as you’d call it. So I was raised around that very open minded kind of – and rock ‘n’ roll was very popular with that kind of crowd. So if some guitar players watch what we do, like Guns, or Snakepit, or what I do on other people’s records, and they go, “It’s just like old blues stuff, just gassed up,” I go, “That’s what I grew up on.” And I haven’t heard anybody do anything any cooler than that, except for maybe Eddie Van Halen, and he still has his roots back there, too.

Interviewer: Yeah.

[Clip from Beggars And Hangers On video]

Interviewer: So you’ve got Slash’s Snakepit [tattoo] on your back?

Slash: Yeah. And I’ve got any number of women’s lips (laughs). That’s about it.

Interviewer: Thanks for playing.

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